Final Cut Pro:Timecode Generator

Let’s assume you are finishing up a rough edit for client review consisting of multiple clips and sound. The client requests visible timecode in the review movie. Final Cut Pro includes a Timecode Generator Filter located in Effects/Video Filters/Video. Since this is in fact a filter, it must be applied to each individual clip. The problem with this implementation? The TC Generator will reset on a clip to clip basis as the playhead moves through the sequence.
Our objective is to have the TC Generator display a continuous representation of the entire sequence timecode. I have two suggestions …


The image below represents a Nested sequence:


The original sequence consisted of multiple independent clips. Nesting a selection of timeline assets creates a new self contained sequence without any reference to previous edit points.

To create a Nested Sequence, select the timeline assets. Head up to the FCP Sequence Menu and select Nest Item(s). You can also use the keyboard shortcut ⌥ C. Apply the FCP Timecode Generator Filter to the Nest. The filter will display the RT playback timecode in the Canvas. The Timecode will be visible in the output movie.


Andy’s Timecode Generator

There is another way to do this using a (free) third party generator. Andy’s TC Generator allows you to add a TC Generator directly to your existing sequence as an overlay on a upper video track. The developer notes that you can adjust the offset to match your sequence, or use it as it’s own free running reference. Very cool.

One final note about one of Final Cut Pro’s newest features: The Timecode Viewer HUD.


The resizable Timecode Viewer (Tools/Timecode Viewer or press Control-T) makes reading current timecode very easy. The Timecode Viewer displays the timecode for either the Timeline/Canvas or the Viewer as well as the corresponding sequence name or clip name. You can customize what is displayed by right-clicking either the upper or lower display areas of the HUD.

Tip: for easy access, add a Timecode Viewer Shortcut Button to a Button Bar in the FCP window of choice – (Tools/Button List/Timecode Viewer).


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